The 1925 MacMillan-Byrd Arctic Expedition to Greenland is remembered as the first expedition to use shortwave radio and airplanes in Arctic exploration. For UMMAA, the expedition is also important for objects of Kalaallit Inuit material culture collected by project naturalist and U-M alumnus Walter Koelz. Included in the collection are several ulu from northern Greenland. Ulu are general purpose knives used by women for a variety of tasks. They typically have steel or slate blades and handles of caribou antler, walrus ivory, or muskox horn. The ulu on the left was custom-made for Koelz by an individual named Panikpa in the settlement of Etah, a now-abandoned settlement on Greenland’s northwest coast. The tool on the right came from the settlement of Igloodahouny, some 50 miles to the south.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.